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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Why Shapiro and Grogan Should Be Punished

    In response to your article “Shapiro Breaks USG Law,” and your editorial on the same topic for the October 4th issue, “Nathan, You’re Alright” in which it is written, “[W]e believe that Shapiro’s actions, running for a position on the College Republicans after being elected as Executive Vice President, and subsequently continuing as President of the CRs after finding out about the unconstitutional nature of having both positions this past month, do not require disciplinary action. After all, Nathan Shapiro is one individual who has given so much to the USG. It would be terrible to get rid of one of the few truly competent student officials on campus.” To which I reply, so what? I agree that the Executive Vice President has given much to the USG since he started as a Senator last year, penning numerous bills, including a constitutional amendment clarifying how a bill becomes law, successfully leading three impeachment efforts, personally drafting a balanced budget proposal in coordination with former Senator Matt Maiorella, and now leading the effort to pen an entirely new Constitution of the USG which the students will get to vote on October 22nd through the 26th on SOLAR.

    But just because a government official has numerous accomplishments while in office does not make him or her above the law. It is true that when he ran for College Republicans President last year, he undoubtedly had forgotten that Section 7.B. of the Financial Bylaws prohibited the Executive Vice President from being a signatory for a USG-funded club or organization. Of course, while ignorance of the law may be no excuse, it is not as if he resigned as soon as he discovered the violation.

    In his letter of resignation from the presidency of the CR’s, he writes that “My initial desire was to resign from CRs, but Vice President Kyle Grogan informed me that he was not comfortable at that time remaining Vice President by himself. I decided that losing both the president and vice president in the first 2 weeks of the semester would be crippling to the club. Therefore, I decided to stay in my official position while Kyle effectively served as Acting President so that way the club would have continuous leadership. Meanwhile, I expected this accommodation to be temporary because I hoped the Senate would consider a bill that would have allowed me to assume full leadership of the club without conflict with my role as EVP.” As a result, he knowingly continued in the position in violation of the law and apparently publicly pretended nothing was wrong. He also admits that he was going to attempt to get the Senate to change the law so that he could continue to serve. How corrupt is that? He never informed the Senate of his conflict of interests. Did they know they were going to be voting to let him keep both positions? And Kyle Grogan, a sitting Senator as well as the VP of the CR’s, knew about it the whole time and did not bring it to the Senate’s or the club’s attention.

    Grogan as a Senator has a duty to the legislative branch and to the undergraduate students. He is supposed to be above personal loyalties to the members of the executive branch. He has violated the separation of powers and his duties as a Senator by noting this breach and not doing anything about it. As a Senator last year, when I knew about former President Jean-Baptiste’s role in a despicable scandal, despite being one of his greatest supporters, I came forward and disclosed what I knew to University officials and to the USG. I provided the information that led to and was used in his impeachment.

    Shapiro also should have followed the example of his predecessors at the CR’s and the Enduring Freedom Alliance (EFA). When Jeff Krusznya was appointed to the position of Executive Vice President in 2005 by then USG President Jared Wong, he was forced to resign his position as President of the EFA because of the very same conflict of interests, which was then included in Section 10 of the Financial Policies and Procedures. When I was the President of the CR’s in 2005-06, I was forced to resign my position as Elections Board Chair when the CR’s was up for USG funding because of the very same clause in the FP’P’s. When Shapiro learned of the conflict, he should have resigned from President of the CR’s, because that was the right thing to do. Instead, he kept it a secret from the general membership of the club and even from the President of the USG, Joe Antonelli, who similarly was unaware of the situation.

    In the hard news piece, Shapiro accuses me of saving this as political ammunition against him and that I came forward because the new Constitution had been put on the ballot, which I oppose. Actually, he gives me too much credit. As soon as I learned of Section 7.B. of the Financial Bylaws, I came forward with it to the Statesman. If I had known about it three weeks ago, I would have come forward three weeks ago. This was not something I was sitting on. I wish I was that smart. In fact, I came forward as a former officer of the CR’s to maintain the integrity of the CR’s. I could have made my tip to the Statesman anonymous, but I did not. It was important to me that the public knew that Republicans police their own.

    And at the last meeting of the CR’s, I was accused by Shapiro of trying to destroy the organization itself. I hope those new members who were at the meeting were not fooled by this fantasy. I hope they noticed something was wrong when in open agenda I raised my hand to give Shapiro and Grogan hell, and Grogan looked at me raising my hand to speak, and then abruptly adjourned the meeting. I hope that the organization realizes that they do not need corrupt leadership who cannot even hear dissent and who place loyalty above the law. In short, I hope the organization I once chaired will come to its senses. They finally have a large budget of over $29,000, but if they continue on this path, I would not be surprised if that budget gets frozen and significantly decreased next spring by the Senate. And it wouldn’t be because of viewpoint discrimination, it would be because of corruption.

    Shapiro and Grogan should both be punished, whether that be a censure or impeachment, for their roles in this affair, which are not mitigated in any way by past accomplishments. The Senate should take this scandal seriously, and not show favoritism towards Shapiro the way Grogan did.

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